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Friday’s COPD Newsletter from COPD Support, Inc.

Posted Apr 23 2010 10:54am

Volume 10, Issue 21
April 23, 2010
Joan Costello, Editor

By Jim Kerr. The call goes out over the overhead intercom: Rapid Response Team report to room 425. Respiratory therapists and nurses in the ICU glance at each other and quickly assess who is most free to respond. A similar scene plays out in the emergency department and in other parts of the 109-bed hospital in Torrington, CT. Quickly, medical professionals from different parts of the hospital converge on room 425, each bringing critical care skills to the bedside. Together they assess the patient’s condition and deliver the necessary treatment. They administer medications or oxygen, order lab tests or chest X-rays and start respiratory care.

“A lot of times, we’ll catch things early on,” said Maria DosSantos, RRT, the hospital’s respiratory therapy coordinator. “And I know as far as respiratory care, we can usually treat something right away rather than having it escalate into something worse.” And that, organizers say, is the goal of the Rapid Response Team: to deliver the best care the hospital has to offer, quickly and efficiently at the first sign of trouble.

The Rapid Response Team…”Now the team is comprised of an ICU nurse, and ED nurse, a respiratory therapist, a hospitalist, a nursing supervisor and any clinical managers who are on duty.” The team operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All caregivers at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital can call for a Rapid Response, but mostly it’s the floor nurses who signal the team into action. Typically, a nurse will call for help if she notices a swift change in blood pressure, heart rate or oxygen level. The patient might be having chest pain, a seizure or difficulty breathing. Other times, the signs are not so apparent. Nurse instinct and experience play a major role.

Family Component: Just being in a hospital can raise all sorts of anxiety, worry and fear for patients and their families. Easing those concerns was one reason Charlotte Hungerford expanded its program to give patients and families the ability to call for Rapid Response. After all, who knows a patient better than his or her family? “The family might see something and say to themselves, ‘You know, that never happened to Mom before,’” Whiting explained. “When they feel that way, they want someone to respond quickly.”And by having that group of people come so fast, it eases concerns and gives the family reassurance their loved one is getting the best care possible.” (Hospital) patients and families can simply dial the hospital operator, who then calls for a Rapid Response Team. Fuller admits adding the patient-family element was sort of a “tough sell” to some staff. There was some concern the system would be used improperly for frivolous reasons. “I think some people were hesitant at first because they thought patients would be calling a Rapid Response for a glass of ice water or something like that,” Fuller recalled. Fortunately, that hasn’t been the case.











News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.

By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today. Obesity is often associated with respiratory symptoms as the extra weight presses down on the airways and reduces lung volume, in addition to other structural and metabolic effects. This study showed that bariatric surgery and resulting weight loss produced patients who needed fewer medicines for respiratory illnesses.

Weight loss surgery can dramatically cut down on asthma and other respiratory symptoms, researchers affirmed. In a retrospective cohort analysis, patients filled 49% fewer respiratory medication prescriptions in the year after bariatric surgery than in the year before, according to Naveen Sikka, MD, of the St. Paul (Minn.) Allergy & Asthma Clinic, and colleagues. More than half of the patients on prescription respiratory medications before surgery eliminated them afterwards, they reported in the April Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

These findings likely reflect resolution of symptoms with rapid weight loss, they posited. “In addition to improved respiratory symptom morbidity, a reduction in medication-related healthcare costs can be considered an additional benefit of bariatric surgery,” they wrote in the paper. Breathing symptoms are common with rising body mass index (BMI) due to structural, mechanical, and metabolic changes even in the absence of diagnosed asthma, they noted. These effects of obesity can include reduced respiratory compliance and lung volume that give rise to dyspnea.

We do not accept any paid advertising. Any corporations, products, medicines (prescription or non) mentioned in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not to be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of same.

Can’t Stop Coughing? 8 Possible Reasons. You’ve been coughing for weeks. How do you know if it’s a hard-to-shake cold or something more serious? Only a doctor can tell for sure what’s behind your hacking. A number of conditions could be to blame, such as asthma; postnasal drip; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and COPD, a serious, progressive disease that includes both emphysema and bronchitis. Read more about COPD and some common (and relatively uncommon) culprits in chronic cough. A slide show,,20358279,00.html?xid=ha-hot-topic-link

A video on COPD Just walking is trouble for seventy year old Helene Horowitz. A portable oxygen tank makes her breathing easier. She has COPD. For a dozen years, she had worsening shortness of breath symptoms.

Click the button below the “Fit for Life” icon for a webcast.

Kate Pickert. (TIME) “Trying to rein in these types of health plans is like playing regulatory whack-a-mole. File a lawsuit or institute new consumer protections targeting one product in one state, and several slightly different variants are likely to pop up to fill the void. And consumer advocates are worried that many more people will sign up for these health plans because of confusion surrounding the new federal health reform law, which will eventually require all citizens to obtain insurance. But that aspect of the law, which will also set a minimum standard for insurers whose plans must include free preventive care, substantial reimbursement for most treatments and no annual or lifetime caps on coverage won’t take effect until 2014. In the meantime, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a scam alert, warning consumers that companies may market plans based on false claims about the new law, such as there being a limited enrollment period for federal health care.,9171,1982297,00.html

MEDICAL DECISIONS. Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is… the work of COPD patients . We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonoligist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.

(AP) “Screening smokers for cancer with lung scans can lead to a high rate of false alarms, unneeded tests and biopsies, a new study suggests…However, there’s no convincing evidence that such tests save lives, and no doctors group recommends routinely screening smokers who don’t have symptoms of lung cancer. Government researchers are studying whether the scans could save lives. While researchers are still waiting for the answer to that, they do have results on just how often scans are wrong…For those who got CT scans, the risk of a ‘false-positive’ finding a harmless spot was 21 percent after one scan and 33 percent after two. For chest X-rays, the risk was 9 percent after one, and 15 percent after two. Anything suspicious detected through screening often needs to be followed up with more tests, biopsies and even surgery to find out if it really is cancer. Complications can include lung collapse, bleeding and infection…The study’s findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.”

Todd Ackerman (Houston Chronicle) “In a step toward personalized medicine, Houston scientists are reporting evidence that lung cancer treatment can be individualized based on a patient’s tumor characteristics, a first for the usually fatal disease. University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers presented results from an unusual biopsy-mandated study that matched treatments to specific molecular signatures, or biomarkers. Certain pairings identified in the study improved survival. ‘This trial changes the landscape of lung cancer research,’ said Dr. Edward Kim, a professor of thoracic oncology and the study’s principal investigator. ‘It suggests we can supplant existing toxic therapies with drugs targeted for the right population.’ Kim said the study should lead to more precise clinical trials, in which a smaller number of lung-cancer patients get treatment based on their biomarker, known as targeted therapy.

By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer. Is it possible for a pandemic to save lives? The short answer is that it just did. Since swine flu first burst onto the scene one year ago this month, fewer Americans appear to have died of influenza-related causes than in any recent flu season. The pandemic flu kept at bay seasonal strains that normally kill thousands of elderly people. And it did so, somehow, while not sticking around itself. The result: a winter flu season with virtually no seasonal flu, no pandemic flu, no flu of any kind, at least not yet.

Although I’ve mastered the “shopping only once a month plan,” I still wander around the house worried, not knowing what to make for this meal or that potluck. One day I piled all of my recipe books and papers together and made a list of all of the meals that I make well (so far there are 22). I am now going to make each meal on a rotating basis. I have my list hanging on my fridge and I know what to make every day now. No more worries! I can go to the store and know exactly what I need for each month. I know exactly what I’ll use every 22 days and can stock up when prices are low. Each week I also try out a new recipe. When I find something fabulous, I add it to my list. Trina Z-B From the Dollar Stretcher.

Subscription to this Newsletter is free and we hope that it serves your needs. For more Newsletter information, go to

The Newsletter, like all the other endeavors of the Family of COPD Support Programs , is provided to you by COPD-Support, Inc. a non-profit member organization with IRS designation 501(c)(3). If you would like to be involved and help us provide these programs to the individuals who benefit from them, please consider joining us as a member. Further information is available at

From R. D. Martin/NY: “Joan, support by the COPD Community has put my book ‘The Complete Guide to Understanding and Living with COPD: From a COPDer’s Perspective’ in the #1 position on Amazon’s search for books on COPD. Also, at least for the time being, it is the best selling book on COPD on that isn’t geared to medical professionals. I’m not feeling even an ounce of modesty at the moment, but I know you’ll forgive me. I must go now, I want to stare at the search page some more.”

A toy box for your desktop. Do you remember having a toy box as a kid? It was a box full of possibilities. Open it up and you could be anything. You could have wild adventures in your backyard. What if you had a toy box on your computer? Souptoys is just the thing. You’ll find things like baseballs, basketball hoops, cars, magnets and ramps. Each object behaves realistically. Balls bounce. Magnets pull on metal objects. You can arrange objects into elaborate Rube Goldberg machines. Or just throw together a fun toy. You can save configurations to work on later. Or play with the dozens of configurations included with the program. Use your imagination and have some fun. Cost: Free

Year of the Lung crossword.

Poker Match-up

Until next Friday,

Joan Costello, Editor

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